Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
This 5-day training aimed at yoga teachers and trainees is designed to facilitate personal growth and professional competence. In this intensive, students can expect to learn more about the symptoms of anxiety and depression as they manifest at the level of all 5 kosha-s, yoga practices and relational strategies for working with people experiencing anxiety, depression, and anxious depression, as well as yoga therapy models for understanding symptoms, root causes, and methods to shift them.
Emotions, just like everything else that can be experienced, are parts of the continuum that is our whole potential as human beings. Anxiety is over-stimulation of the body and mind that has a quality of restless movement to it. Depression can be experienced as the opposite, with the felt quality of heaviness, stuckness, and inertia. In depression the mind might be busy or dull, but most often it’s busy with repeating the same thoughts. The thoughts want to be repeated without being acted upon, and the body barely wants to move. The reality is many of us experience both of these states, sometimes in oscillation, and sometimes at the same time. Anxiety and depression each interfere with effective action and thus they are the original mental impediments and sources of suffering the yoga practices were developed to affect. Centuries later we still battle with our minds. Fortunately, we also still have access to the time tested yoga tools that have helped many more before us develop the capacity to be calm, clear, and skillful action takers.
This 5-day training is intended for yoga practitioners, teachers, and therapists at all levels of yoga experience except absolute beginners. All experience is personal, and all change must begin with ourselves. Somewhere on the continuum from minimal to profound, we have all experienced these qualities of the human mind. So our first focus will be svadharma/self-awareness that includes awareness of attitudes, expectations, judgments, and feelings related to the states of anxiety and depression. One of my intentions for this training will be to expand your comfort zone with feeling and responding to the feelings of another when in the grip of these two emotions.
The training will integrate practical application of yoga philosophy and practice. We will review the models of the kosha-s, guna-s, dosha-s and essences to explore how they help us understand our selves and others, and the suggestions they offer for modifications to practice. We experience the effects of sequencing movement coordinated with breath, breathing practices, and meditation foci that have the intention of physically, physiologically, and mentally/emotionally shifting us into a more sattvic/balanced state of mindful attention. We will spend time in lecture and discussion understanding the logic behind selecting practice elements and sequencing in this manner so that you can reproduce the effects in your own practice and classes.
Everything changes, even those things we knowingly or unknowingly rigidly hold onto. We can influence the direction of change, but we cannot fully determine it. The more clearly we know and see ourselves as we are, the more effectively we can create changes in our lives that we may enjoy. Once we have tasted a sweet experience, we naturally want to know how to re-create it. Once we have created it, we need to know how to sustain it. This workshop is about helping you to make the best use of the yoga tools you are already using so those lingering states of mind that bind you loosen their hold and transform into the energy that helps you grow.
Daily Structure (modification may occur)
10.00 – 10:30 Chanting and Lecture
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:45 Morning practice
12:45 – 13:00 Personal reflection on lecture and practice
13:00 – 14:15 Lunch on your own
14:15 – 14:30 Group Q&A on lecture and practice
14:30 – 16:00 Lecture and discussion
16:00 – 16:15 Break
16:15 – 17:15 Afternoon practice
17:15 – 17:30 Wrap up, Chanting, and personal reflection on the lecture and practice
Mindful Relationships: Seven Skills for Success Integrating the Science of Mind, Body and Brain, by B Grace Bullock, Handspring Publishing, UK, 2016.
Please note that this workshop counts towards elective hours on the Yoga Therapy Diploma.
What our students say
I have really enjoyed the course, mostly the physical practices and integrating asana and pranayama (with retentions) together. Something I’ll practice myself and likely introduce into my teaching. It has re-inspired my interest in this type of yoga Jane Robertson on Mental Health Basics, August 2015